S R E Sayampanathan

Master (2016-2018)
Academy of Medicine, Singapore



18 August 2017

Dear Fellow Academicians


This August we join our nation to celebrate 52nd year of nationhood.  This year’s theme "#One Nation Together" is most apt.  As Fellows of the Academy, we will work and collaborate cohesively, regardless of origins and background, to promote and advance healthcare in Singapore.  The dynamic diversity within the Academy, embracing medical and dental specialties and sub-specialties, presents stability and strength “under one roof”.  Our collective and extensive experiences, along with in-depth knowledge, allow us to collaborate and bring to bear comprehensive educational programmes and valuable professional standards and opinions.



This year, we celebrate the 60th Anniversary of the Academy of Medicine, Singapore! 

The 51st Singapore Malaysia Congress of Medicine (SMCM) and 12th Public Health and Occupational Medicine Conference (PHOMC), held in conjunction with our Diamond Jubilee celebrations, took place at the Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel from 21 to 23 July 2017.



We were extremely privileged to have His Excellency, Dr Tony Tan, President of the Republic of Singapore and Patron of the Academy graced our Induction Comitia as Guest-of-Honour on the evening of 21 July.  He presided over the fellowship conferment and declared the Congress open to a capacity turnout.



The evening’s highlight also marked the conferment of Honorary Fellowship to Singapore’s Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, who delivered the 23rd Gordon Arthur Ransome Oration entitled "Law and Medicine: Professions of Honour, Service and Excellence”.  Chief Justice clearly articulated in his oration the need for legal and medical professions to appreciate and commit to public service in meeting the challenges of the future.  Both professions have much to learn and gain from working with each other toward these shared goals.  He urged the professions to serve with excellence to safeguard the people’s interests and welfare.


Equally well received the next day was the Runme Shaw Lecture by Dr Wong Tien Yin who addressed “Strategies and Lessons in Tackling Diabetic Retinopathy in Singapore and Globally” and the Galloway Memorial Lecture by Dr Christopher Chen on “The Brain-Heart Connection: Revisiting Sydenham’s adage that ‘A Man is as Old as His Arteries’”.  The SMCM-PHOMC meeting concluded on a successful note.  The scientific content and quality of the lectures were exceptionally high and very well received by participants.



The Academy’s Diamond Jubilee celebration culminated with the Charity Gala Dinner on 22 July.  We were honoured to have Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Education (Higher Education and Skills) and Second Minister for Defence graced the dinner as Guest-of-honour.  It was an evening where fellow academicians gathered to celebrate the history and achievements of the Academy and to appreciate the contributions of many Fellows, past and present.  We also dedicated a special moment to launch the fundraising campaign towards the establishment of the “Robert Loh Professorship in Clinical Innovation in Ophthalmology”. 


On behalf of the Academy Council, I would like to thank all who have contributed towards making our Diamond Jubilee celebration a truly meaningful and memorable one.





The 3rd Medical Expert Witness Training Course was conducted over three weekends on 24 June, 15 and 29 July at the Academia and State Courts of Singapore.  A total of 54 participants attended the course this year.

This programme is a joint collaboration between five medical and legal professional organisations:  Academy of Medicine, Singapore (AMS), Singapore Medical Association (SMA), Singapore Academy of Law (SAL), Law Society of Singapore (LSS) and the State Courts of Singapore (State Courts).


This Course has always been well appreciated for its high value, starting from the lectures by our Honorary Legal Advisers and Executive Director, Singapore Judicial College, and continuing into the Courtrooms of the State Courts (Havelock Road) with actual Judges presiding over mock cases in a court proceeding simulation, and giving the participants tangible advice and substantial guidance into how they will be examined and cross-examined in Court.

The graduates of all three Courses will join the Faculty of Medical Experts.  With these doctors who are trained and qualified to give independent medical expert (IME) opinions, the Academy of Medicine, Singapore, is well enabled to credibly contribute to the medico-legal scene.


Independent Medical Experts will take on an important role on the healthcare scene in the future.  Since 2004, IMEs from the Academy have been providing medical expert opinion reports and evidence for Coroner's Cases.  This is likely to be expanded to other areas, e.g. the Singapore Medical Council.  Indeed, after a recent case involving a patient with Kawasaki Disease, the College of Paediatrics and Child Health, Singapore engaged in discussions with fellow doctors as well as representatives from the relevant authorities to proactively and constructively contribute to the discourse on the case.

Looking forward, we are also engaging the legal sector in two other areas, namely Medical Mediators and Medical Assessors.  The Academy has the strength of being an undisputable independent medical and dental professional organisation of great repute.  No other organisation in Singapore has such an advantage.  In this respect, we greatly appreciate the contributions of all our Fellows towards healthcare ethics and professionalism for the nation.



The specialty-specific pilot self-learning module (SLMs) is an initiative in anticipation of the proposed Maintenance of Competency (MOC), which will replace the current Continuing Medical Education (CME) system targeted for 2020.  Implemented under the current Category 3B of the Continuing Medical Education (CME) programme, SMC has allowed, as of 2017, for participants to claim 5 CME points for each satisfactory completion of SLM module related to their specialty.

We are glad that the Academy is privileged to organise at least one SLM a year for each of the 35 specialties and 5 sub-specialties.  College of Family Practitioners Singapore (CFPS) will organise SLM for Family Medicine specialty and the Singapore Medical Association (SMA) has been tasked to SLM on ethics.

The pilot SLM is scheduled to be rolled out by 1 October 2017.  Over the past few months, Colleges and Chapters of the Academy have been fervently composing the SLMs.  I am happy to note we have received 15 completed SLM contributions to-date.  Others are still work in progress and they are expected to be submitted soon.  We are working to get the first batch of pilot SLMs uploaded on our e-learning system by October so that our fellows can attempt it, critique and provide feedback.


I would like to close this Message with a quotation from Helen Keller:

"Alone we can do so little,
Together we can do so much"

In this light, I am really happy that the vast majority of Fellows are working productively and harmoniously through their Chapters and Colleges.  As such, we are being increasingly recognised and increasingly approached for collaborative and cooperative efforts.  This shows our positive impact on society in Singapore to make this place a better one.  Truly, we are practising the spirit of this year's National Day slogan, we are "#One Nation Together".



Best Wishes

Dr S R E Sayampanathan
Email: master@ams.edu.sg


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